In a letter transmitting the CoNGO statement to Michelle Bachelet, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, and to Antonio Guterres, the United Nations Secretary-General, the CoNGO President, Dr. Liberato Bautista, paid tribute to the role of non-governmental organizations. He said, “We take great pride as an NGO that we issue this resolution in the year of our own 70th anniversary. Indeed, the history of engagement by NGOs and the wider civil society in the evolution and development of human rights is prominent and illustrious.”
Since the UDHR, the international bill of human rights now includes the Convention on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR, 1966) and its two optional protocols and the Convention on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR, 1966). The bill has in turn produced a body of human rights laws dealing with women, children, indigenous peoples, older persons, persons with disabilities and many more.
“Today, human rights must undergird our advocacy for peace and security as much as our desire to successfully realize the sustainable development goals. We must continually assert human rights especially in the face of continuing assaults on human dignity and prevalence of intolerance and xenophobia in the world today,” Bautista added.
The board urged all the organizational members of CoNGO to join its board of directors in this resolution. The resolution, containing endorsements from CoNGO member organizations, will be submitted to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, the President of the Human Rights Council, and the United Nations Secretary General.
This resolution on the UDHR follows a resolution on full funding of the UN adopted at the CoNGO General Assembly in Geneva in early March this year. That resolution urged full funding of the United Nations, underlining the vital role the United Nations System can and must play in fostering, managing and coordinating the achievement of the SDGs, engaging and building on the commitment, competence and responsibility of civil society organizations worldwide.
CoNGO Resolution on the 70th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
On the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the Conference of Non-Governmental Organizations in Consultative Relationship with the United Nations (CoNGO), the Board of CoNGO,
Noting that on 10 December 2018, the United Nations, the NGO community, and people of goodwill throughout the world will celebrate the 70th anniversary of the adoption by the United Nations General Assembly of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on 10 December 1948,
Recalling that the Universal Declaration was formulated in the aftermath of World War II and the defeat of the forces of fascism and genocide, and that the Universal Declaration has given rise to a body of international law and international agreements that continue to help preserve the peace and allow for peaceful relations among peoples,
Further recalling that the Universal Declaration played a significant role in the decline of colonialism and the assertion of the principle of self-determination,
Stressing that the Universal Declaration is accordingly a crucial element in the post-war settlement based on the United Nations Charter, adopted at the founding of the United Nations three years earlier, and the adoption of a number of international instruments intended to establish a rules-based international order rooted in international law,
Mindful of the fact that, seventy years later, memory of the horrors of fascism and genocide is fading and that this foundational document accordingly needs to be ever recalled and put into living practice, particularly in regard to the protection of human rights defenders,
Observing that conflicts in many parts of the world, and the accompanying neglect of human rights, are producing massive involuntary displacement of people and undermining respect for human rights even in countries where in the past they have been increasingly respected,
Affirms that now, more than ever, in a world in which the forces of globalization on the one hand and rising intolerance on the other are causing governments to ignore fundamental rights and freedoms, such fundamental rights and freedoms must be reinforced,
Emphasizes the extreme importance of keeping the awareness alive in the hearts and minds of people of all ages and all nationalities today, and of incorporating Human Rights in the implementation of the United Nations Agenda 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals which are key to the future of people and the planet,
Salutes the United Nations and its member states on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration and calls on them to abide by its principles and also to teach these principles at all levels of formal, informal and non-formal education, and
Reaffirms the importance of the Universal Declaration to the work of CoNGO, and urges CoNGO’s member organizations to permanently observe and exercise these standards in their work and encourage others to do the same.
New York City
3 October 2018